How Much Do You Really Know About Him?: The Stepfather (2009)

How Much Do You Really Know About Him?

In 2009, I was 17 years old. A senior applying to colleges, trying to figure out what to do next with my life-planning prom and other senior activities.

I remember when this film came out, it was a big deal at the time as Penn Badgley was super popular from Gossip Girl (it being in its third season) and this was to be his big film role (prior to this he was in John Tucker Must Die! as the little brother). I wasn’t super interested in it at the time- I was more angry about the Fame remake (which sucked as much as I had thought it would), that Where the Wild Things looked depressing instead of the fun book I remembered it being (it was both boring and depressing), and thought Dare, New Moon, and Avatar all sounded dumb. The only thing I was looking forward to was Robert Downey Jr. and Judd Law in Sherlock Holmes.

In fact I never probably would have even remembered anything about this movie, except my mom was so against it. But I was 17, I could watch whatever I wanted. I remember saying some smartmouth reply and getting in trouble for it.

I never did go see it in theaters as I didn’t really care about it.

Flashforward to the beginning of this year and I’m housesitting/catsitting for a friend who has cable-and not just cable, Lifetime!

I LOVE Lifetime and can’t help but watch the Lifetime movie channel. That day it was playing The Stepfather, so I decided what the hey? Why not check it out?

NO! NO! This was not good at all. I should have listened to my mom and passed this one by!

Yes, always listen to your mother!

So typically I do not review a movie without reviewing the original, but I didn’t get a chance to fit it in, so the review of the remake must go on.

So the film starts off with “the Stepfather” (Dylan Walsh) having killed his family and their dead bodies not even phasing him as he leaves and moves on to the next town to find his “new family”.

In the supermarket he meets Susan Harding (Sela Ward), with her two kids-Sean and Beth. He charms them quickly and he, now going by David Harris, and Susan begin a relationship.

If I’ve learned anything from movies and TV is the supermarket is nor the place for women to meet men. I mean the mom gets set up with a Vampire in Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire, Susan gets with a serial killer, and Fran with a liar-guy is a hot dog vendor pretending t be a stock broker in The Nanny. Just cross that place off the list.

Don’t go there to look for men!

So David and Susan become engaged-which is something that really bothers me. I mean it is called The Stepfather, but David is NOT the stepfather. He and Susan live together, but they don’t marry. So why call it that? Because it is better than The Man My Mom Lived With or My Mom’s Evil Fiance or My Mom’s Serial Killer Boyfriend or Don’t Let Mom Marry the Serial KillerActually that last one sounds pretty good. It could be super serious teen drama or ’90s kids comedy-someone write a script, make a ton of money and give me 10% for the title.

Finally! This is almost over!

So anyways, it is the summer and Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) has just returned from military school. He was acting up after his parents’ divorced and was sent away. Depending on his behavior he can stay or will be shipped back.

Choose wisely.

He meets David and feels weird about the whole thing-everything has seemed to move toooo fast and he’s worried his mom might end up with another bad relationship-another guy like his dad.

Now here is where the film first failed with me. This film could have been a lot better if they went in a different direction then what they chose. Now I have never seen the original film this is based on, but think how much more horrifying if David seemed so nice, developed a great relationship with the kids, maybe even Michael opening up and sharing what happened with his dad-what he saw between his parents that made him not be able to stand his father and react so destructively. Then to have him realize David is not who he seems-I think much more interesting.

But instead David tries to bond with him but it is all so fake and creepy-Michael doesn’t tust him, second guesses him, and the suspense/mystery/horror is missing. We know David is a psycho and Michael knows it too-there is no buildup.

I mean Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this much better on their Ted episode. Buffy wanted to like her mother’s boyfriend, she tried to like him-but then felt something off-and she felt bad about being so down on her mom-convincing herself it was her problem not anything wrong with Ted. But then Ted starts being extremely controlling, he threatens her. He continues to treat her cruelly but others nicely, causing no one to believe her or make her think she is imagining it. It is emotional and mental abuse-and makes you wonder what will happen next.

That would have been a better path to take, but they didn’t do that.

Ugh!

Michael isn’t the only one who is unsure about David as Susan’s sister, Jackie, points out that there is a ton about David she knows zero about, although Jackie’s wife/girlfriend (it doesn’t state their exact relationship) thinks Jackie is being overprotective-as David’s hot. So what if they don’t know his family, religion, history, friends where he grew up, etc, and he’s not working-David’s hot.

Yeah, Susan really? I mean you are a single mom, don’t you want someone more stable for your kids? Don’t you think you want someone with a real job?

And David’s plan doesn’t make sense! He creates fake identities but has nothing to back him up? I mean he just plans to move from town to town with no social security number or anything and expect to work and live there? I mean they could have had him buy dead people’s identities and then have Michael do some research and stumble on to it! And then he presents it to his mom and she’s like, “oh that, it’s a common name that’s not him.” And then David doing something creepy like almost kill him, kind of like Joseph Cotton in Shadow of a Doubt when he starts sabotaging things around his niece because she knows too much, and everyone thinks she is just imagining things.

Anyways, one day Sean isn’t listening to Susan, so David decides to “discipline” and chokes him. When Sean and Beth visit their dad, he tells him and when Jay returns the kids he gets in a fistfight with David. Now this is my other issue with the movie-Jay confronts David about choking Sean and is freaking out and DAVID ADMITS IT and what does the mom do? Get angry at her EX-HUSBAND THE MAN PROTECTING HIS CHILD AND NOT THE MAN WHO JUST ADMITTED TO CHOKING OUT HER BABY. And afterwards Sean is all it my fault, and everyone is mad at Jay for making a scene and overreacting, and Sean apologizes to David and everyone is its okay, we forgive you. And later when Sean is freaking out, Michael is all its okay Sean David won’t hurt you again.

Uh, no. NO, NO, NO, NO! Jay was totally in the right and I completely 100% agree with his decision to pummel the guy ABUSING HIS child. And Susan, really? What is wrong with you! This man admitted to abusing your child because “he forgot what it was like being a father and discipling and maybe went too far. But don’t worry, he’ll learn how to do better, Uh, no! Get out of my house and out of my life and I am calling the police on you.”

WHAT!!!??

But Susan loves him. After that I checked out-I just couldn’t get over that scene. Now if they had David not admit to it, and change it around so it sounds like Sean is lying as he is upset at the changes, or Jay made it up, or twisted it in any way-I’ll buy that. But he admits it, and Susan cannot see the warning signs? Now I’ve been in an abusive relationship I now how they can meld your mind and practically brainwash you with their emotional and mental abuse- but your kids Susan! Your kids!!!

So Michael investigates, David goes on an anti-climatic killing spree, Michael’s girlfriend walks around in tiny clothes and bikinis, and the movie is just boring.

There is no suspense or buildup, no twists, it is all bland and very oatmeal-you know what you are getting and it happens-just as expected.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more serial killers, go to It Should Have Been a Movie or a Miniseries: American Gothic (2016)

So with today’s topic and October being national domestic violence awareness month, I felt compelled to share this.

I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

It Should Have Been a Movie or a Miniseries: American Gothic (2016)

I came upon American Gothic when I was browsing Amazon Prime, looking for something new.

Hmmm….

It is an interesting premise. Boston’s most notorious serial killer, the Silver Bell Killer (SBK), would kill wealthy people, strangling them, and arranging them -the final act being placing his moniker, a silver bell, just out of reach. The bell being a mark of their station and inability to use their influence.

A tunnel collapses and a new victim of the SBK turns up, bringing new evidence to light that it must have been someone connected to or a member of, the Hawthorne family.

Mitchell Hawthorne (Jamey Sheridan) is the patriarch and the owner of Hawthorne Concrete. It is hard to pin down what type of man he is as each member of the family has a different view of him. His children find a box of silver bells hidden away, the mom explains that it is because of his love of unsolved murders and memorabilia. When Hawthorne collapsed and went to the hospital, long estranged son Garrett is overheard saying “I’m going to tell them it was you.” And when Mitch is lying in the hospital he tells his wife he wants to tell the truth, she kills him-rather than having it be put out there.

Madeleine Hawthorne (Virginia Madsen) is a blue collar girl who married and shed that skin taking on the role of socialite. She hides her past from everyone and thats not all she is hiding. If anyone has hordes of secrets it is her. Every question they have about their father, any time anything comes up weird or doubts arise-their mother always has an answer for everything. And she is very good at shifting the blame on anyone but a member of her family. Everyone assumes the SBK is man, could it be a woman?

Oldest Hawthorne child is Garret (Antony Starr) long estranged from the family. He was going to marry his long term girlfriend, but he and his father argued one night and he took off. He’s been gone and extremely off the grid for fourteen years, leaving the same time the Silver Bell Killing stopped. Garrett is not only strong but looks like a serial killer, could he be the SBK?

Then there is Alison Hawthorne-Price (Juliet Rylance), city council member and running for Mayor of Boston. She wants to be completely unhelpful to the police and worries about how this will affect her campaign-trying to find a way to spin everything and keep it away from her family. She is always calm, collected, emotions under control, and used to keeping things secret. But is she really interested in saving her family and keeping her campaign running, or is she trying to steer things away from the real killer, herself?

Suspicious

Then comes Cam (Justin Chatwin), the artist in the family and famous cartoonist. He is also a recovering drug addict, trying to get clean but always falling back into it because of the bad influence of his wife Sophie. Cam was only a teenager when the killings happened, but he was already using then and said some weird things about dead bodies and killings. Was it just drug induced hallucinations, withdraw, or something more? Plus his son exhibits all the signs of a serial killer-attacking the neighbors cat, no empathy, obsessed with murder and dead bodies. Who could he have inherited that from?

Hmm…

Tessa Hawthorne-Ross (Megan Ketch), was way too young to have been the serial killer, but how much does she know? She seems like a sweet schoolteacher, always seeing the good in everyone, but is that true or all an act?

Also involved is Tessa’s husband, Brady Ross (Elliot Knight). Brady has just made detective and given the SBK case when the new evidence comes to light. Will he do his job or protect the family? It’s a hard place he’s in and which side will he go to? Find justice and a killer? Or protect his family?

Suspicious

Or could it be someone not in the family? Is there a person out there who is targeting them? Who is the Silver Bell Killer?

So everything sounds good and interesting, what went wrong?

Hmm…

It is too long.

Huh?

The series is thirteen episodes, which is standard, but too long for this story. It starts off very strong and gets you into it, but you quickly lose interest when they keep finding the killer only to switch it again.

Now this kind of plot twist is fun and great in mysteries, but having an episode with a twist and the next with a twist makes it hard to keep on going. It makes you feel as if the writers are just messing with you and gives you that sense of rage quit.

First it is the dad, then the gardener, then the brother, then the other brother, then the dad…etc. It kind of tiring.

I think it would have been stronger if it was a film or an even shorter a mini series. I mean the end was pretty good, the road was just a bit to long to get there.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to The Jewel Carries a Curse: Ruby in the Smoke (2006)

For more serial killers, go to Jason’s Out There… Watching… Ready to Kill… Thirsty for Young Blood: Friday the 13th, Part II (1981)

For more Amazon picks, go to The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

Please Accept My A-POEM-ogy: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Romantic Moment #2

So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993) 

I had wanted to see this movie for a long time, and finally my friend and I watched it together. I reviewed it for Horrorfest VI

Charlie Mackenzie (Mike Meyers) is a Scottish poet living in San Francisco. He performs at a coffee shop doing his riffs on love. One day he stops at a butcher shop, Meats of the World, to pick up some haggis for his family dinner and meets the butcher-Harriet.

When he visits the family, his mother feels it is her duty to let him know of female serial killer, Mrs. X, that she read about in the tabloids. She hopes that Charlie will be careful and not end up he next victim

He and Harriet continue to date, but he starts noticing that a lot of things about her past are eerily similar to Mrs. X. Is she a fun-loving, eccentric, slightly needy, woman? Or is she an axe murderer?

Most Romantic Moment: I Wrote an A-POEM-OGY

So this romantic moment comes in the middle of the film. Charlie has freaked out over Harriet and is convinced she is Mrs. X, dumping her.

But then he starts to feel like he acted too hastily. And when his police officer friend arrests another woman as Mrs. X; he feels even more stupid.

He tries to get Harriet back, but no dice. She is not interested.

So Charlie decides he most do something really big to prove his love. He gets the coffee shop band to come to her apartment and serenades her with a special Harriet poem.

So awesome!

To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

hearts banner

For more on So I Married an Axe Murderer, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Jason’s Out There… Watching… Ready to Kill… Thirsty for Young Blood: Friday the 13th, Part II (1981)

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So today is Friday the 13th!

And you know what that means! Time for one of my traditions!

Suit up in Ghostbusters’ clothing!

That’s how I roll

Pick up some pizza:

And watch some horror films!!!!

And of course as this isFriday the 13th in October, you all know exactly which film I will be reviewing.

Yep, this is the whole reason why I moved all the TV episodes to Tuesdays. So I could review Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th.

I was so busy with my movie marathon:

That I wasn’t able to post my review in time. I will be updating soon though. Promise! Until then:

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So you all know how I don’t like sequels:

But I decided to watch this and surprised myself in enjoying it more than I thought.

Slow down everyone, I haven’t changed that much. I didn’t say that I loved it, but I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I wouldSo the film starts off with a review of what happened at the end of the original Friday the 13thWhen the real killer’s identity was discovered, the fight, almost drowning in the lake, etc.

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!
[normal voice]
Pamela Voorhees: I won’t, Jason. I won’t!

It has been two months since then, and Alice has been horrified with nightmares and flashbacks. One night she has had a bad one when Jason comes and kills her.

Why is Jason so old? In the first one he died as a child. If he becomes a ghost/monster/zombie thingy-why is he so old? He should have stayed a child. Like in the original film.

Friday the 13th (1980)

They never say why, just that he never died fully and was living on his own in the woods hunting, etc. But if he never died, than why was his mother so angry and trying to get revenge on the people who caused her son’s death. The fact that he is still alive ruins all the motivations and stuff from the first.

I will say, that Jason may be a crazy, psycho, serial killer-but he is courteous. After he kills Alice he turns off the kettle that Alice was using to make tea. That was nice of him.

Oh, well

Five years pass and Paul is a camp director, having called in the new recruits. He’s training them in the basics before the summer season starts. They aren’t at Camp Crystal Lake, like in the original, but right next door. Paul warns them of the story of Jason, but doesn’t believe in him or the things he “did”.

The next night some of the counselors go out to party in the town bar, while others have to stay behind. Two of them got caught by the police checking out Camp Blood, one guy is in a wheelchair and in training for the olympics, one girl wants to do with the olympic guy, one girl is searching for her dog, and the last guy is there to try and make it with one of the girls. Of course, Jason starts taking them all out one by one.

The reason why I liked this film was that the characters were actually not too dumb, and you felt bad that they died. I mean there was still sex scenes (this is Friday the 13th), Vicky walks around outside in her underwear to get something from the car (why?), and one of the ladies wears a shirt and shorts that cover nothing and walks around naked for a chunk of time.

But while I only cared for like two in the other film, in this one I was sad each time they were taken out.

So sad

But then Paul and his assistant Ginny come back. I don’t know why, but Jason doesn’t kill Paul-he knocks him out. Ginny has to run from him and she is hardcore. She attacks him, tries to trick him into thinking she’s his mother, and does the final knockout. Pretty sweet!

But the end is weird. Did Paul die? Why didn’t Jason kill Ginny? What’s real and what is a dream?

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to A Survivor… Unclouded By Conscience, Remorse, or Delusions of Morality: Alien (1979)

For more on Friday the 13th, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more camp movies, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more on the holiday Friday the 13th, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

For more slasher films, go to Have You Checked the Children: When a Stranger Calls (1979)

For more serial killers, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

For more sequels, go to I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

For more ’80s films, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

Woman! Woah-man! Wooaahhhhh-man! We had love, not just sex. Is she Mrs. X? I had to run for my life… Jane, get me off of this crazy thing called love.

I had always heard of this movie, but never had the opportunity to watch it. Every time I tried I would come in the middle or miss pieces. Then one day my friend and I were looking through Hulu and spotted it, deciding to watch it.

**Spoiler Alert**

Charlie Mackenzie (Mike Meyers) is a Scottish poet living in San Francisco. He performs at a coffee shop doing his riffs on love.

One day he stops at a butcher shop, Meats of the World, to pick up some haggis for his family dinner and meets the butcher-Harriet.

When he visits the family, his mother feels it is her duty to let him know of female serial killer, Mrs. X, that she read about in the tabloids. She hopes that Charlie will be careful and not end up he next victim.

Charlie Mackenzie: Hey Mom, I find it interesting that you refer to the Weekly World News as, “The paper.” The paper contains facts.

May Mackenzie: This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. “Pregnant man gives birth.” That’s a fact.

Charlie can’t get Harriet out of his mind and goes back to the butcher shop to spends time with her-actually being hired on as an assistant. There he entertains Harriet, they go out and eat, and ultimately spend the whole day together-and night.

The next morning Charlie meets Harriet’s sister who is really odd.

Huh?

They way she talks about her sister Harriet is a bit off.

Rose Michaels: Well… you know Harriet.

Charlie Mackenzie: Well, actually, I don’t.

Rose Michaels: But you did have sex with her.

Charlie Mackenzie: Hello!

Rose Michaels: Let me make you some breakfast.

Charlie Mackenzie: Oh, gee, you know, I’d love to. But you know, I’m really running late, but thanks!

Rose Michaels: What would you say to silver-dollar pancakes, fresh-squeezed orange juice, bacon, and Kona coffee?

Charlie Mackenzie: Well, that sounds great!

Rose Michaels:[Cut to Rose pouring cereal in Charlie’s bowlSorry. I didn’t have those other things.

Charlie Mackenzie: No, no, that’s fine. That other stuff will probably kill you… whereas “Froot Loops” are light, and reasonably high in fiber. I care for “Apple Jacks” a great deal.

But while Harriet is fun, charming, and gives Charlie a great time; there is something not quite right about her.

Hmm…

She is evasive, needy, and slightly odd. She also has all kinds of things from all over the country that were given to her by “friends”. These friends being similar to Mrs. Xs husbands.

Hmm…

He tries to do some research into Mrs. X:

Obituary Writer: There’s another one here. Native San Franciscan. Plumber. Elliot, Ralph. Moved to Dallas, disappeared four months ago, body was found in a sewer.

Obituary Employee: Well, guy takes his job too seriously, life goes down the drain. [both laugh]

Charlie Mackenzie: Did they mention anything about his wife?

Obituary Employee: All right, okay. Look, I know that we’re talking about real people here. I’m sorry.

Charlie Mackenzie: No no, I’m serious. Did they mention the wife?

Obituary Employee: Look, I’m sorry you know. You know, I didn’t mean to make a joke about other people’s lives.

Charlie Mackenzie: No no, I’m really serious. Did they mention the wife?

Obituary Employee: You win, you win okay? I’m a bad person!

Obituary Writer: Just take it easy!

Obituary Employee: No, he’s sayin’ I’m insensitive! He’s sayin’ I’m a s***!

Obituary Writer: He’s not sayin’ you’re a s***!

Charlie Mackenzie: [yelling] Did they mention the wife? Did they mention the wife?

Obituary Employee: No! No! They didn’t mention the wife! Ya happy? [speaking to the whole officeYEAH! Oh yes, yeah. I’m insensitive! I’m a very insensitive man! Stop you’re job, look at the insensitive man! That’s what they’re paying you for! [leaves]”

So he then asks his police friend Tony Giardino. Tony tells him that Harriet is not likely to be Mrs. X; but Charlie isn’t convinced. He starts watching Harriet closely on their dates and her behavior is odd and off.

hmm…

He eventually gets so terrified that he breaks up with Harriet, happy to have outlived Mrs. X.

Or is he happy? He misses Harriet and keeps thinking about her.

Hmm…

Was he wrong to break up with her? Then his friend, the police detective Tony, tells him that they caught Mrs. X. It wasn’t Harriet!!! Charlie was wrong! He overreacted! His imagination ran away from him!

He tries to get back with Harriet, but after he dumped her no dice.

Does he give up?

So sweet, right?

Aw!

Everything is going well, so well that Charlie asks Harriet to marry him.

“Charlie Mackenzie: Marry me.

Harriet: No.

Charlie Mackenzie: Please?”

It is weird how Harriet was trying to make them more formal and pushing the relationship forward, but at marriage she balks. After Charlie explains how much he cares and talks to her, Harriet agrees, but then at the wedding acts weird again.

Hmm…

They head off to a romantic honeymoon. All is going well!

Yay!!!

Meanwhile, Tony is working when he finds out that the woman who claimed to be Mrs. X is a compulsive liar!

He tries to get a hold of Charlie, but a storm knocks out the power lines and the message is cut off. Tony heads up to their hotel to try and save them, he ends up commandeering a car from the dad from Beethoven and living out his fantasies of being a TV cop.

So now Charlie is trapped with an ax murderer!

So while they make it seem as if Harriet is an ax murderer, I was convinced the whole movie that it was really Rose?

Huh?

I know, Rose has like only a few minutes in the film but while Harriet is weird-

Rose seemed like:

Yeah, a real psycho. I think I suspected her because of the way she talked about “their” home and how Harriet always leaves for a little while, but then “always comes back.” The way she said “always comes back” made me think she was either obsessed with her sister or afraid of losing her forever-and was killing Harriet’s husbands without her knowing. Yep, I think Rose is:

Meanwhile, Charlie is terrified of Harriet-thinking she is going to kill him.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

But when he gets alone he discovers a “Dear Jane” letter. A letter that appears that it was signed by him! Saying he was leaving her!

What?

To make things even more surprising he finds Rose in his honeymoon suite!

And she has an ax!

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now he gets in a game of cat and mouse as he has to run for his life!

In the end they all live happily ever after. Rose gets the help she needs in prison, Harriet knows that she wasn’t dumped and left and that Charlie loves her, and Charlie loves Harriet and knows she won’t kill him.

No facebook cover for this one either. Man the movies I have picked have been hard ones to find a moment to use. Oh well.

Oh, well

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to The Cruel Giggling Ghoul: Teen Titans Go (2016)

For more serial killers, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

For more female serial killers, go to The Butcher of Burtonsville High: The Death of the Queen Bee, Bones (2010)

For more horror-comedy, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

Day 11) K is for Killer: Choose a book with a murderer

realmurders

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #1) by Charlaine Harris

So you all know how much I love book sales.

bjksale

Part of the fun is the mystery that you never know what you are going to find at a sale.

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

So one book sale I went to, it was the last day and they were trying to unload everything. It was a dollar a bag so I filled mine up with anything I found that sparked my interest.

neverwentwithoutabookandalwayspickedupmorevictorhugo

I can’t help it, it is an addiction.

BkHoarder

This one struck my eye as it was a mystery, involved a serial killer, and copying “real murders”.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

This was during my “I want to be a behavioral psychologist” phase, before Criminal Minds came out, and I would read anything on the subject. So this idea of someone copying real murders seemed like a hit idea to me.

loveitSupernatural

I enjoyed the book so much, that I reader it at least four times a year. The story is great, the characters fun, the mystery just perfect. It is a fantastic read and so engrossing! I just couldn’t put it down.

4inthemorningreadchapterscan'tstopreading

I was shocked when I discovered that this was the same Harris that wrote the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries. I never would have made that connection as this isn’t as sex generated or full of supernatural characters.

Wow

Wow

And with Hallmark turning this book into a film, one that I can review for Horrorfest if I desire, what better time to choose to review this book?

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Aurora “Roe” Teagarden is in her late twenties and lives a pretty quiet life in Lawrenceton, Georgia. She works as manager for her mother’s condos and as a librarian.

MusicManLibrary

Her best friend moved away recently, and she isn’t seeing anyone romantically. The only other thing she  is really involved in, is the club Real Murders.

midsomermurdersboardfigureoutwriting

A year ago there was a book signing of a true crime novel and several people from Lawrenceton traveled to the city to attend. When they realized they all shared an interest in true crime they created a group that meets once a month to discuss past crimes, try to figure out unsolved cases, and learn about police work or the criminal mind. Each time they meet a different person has a chance to create a program and share with the group.

Yes!

Yes!

Their group consists of Roe: Jane Engle, retired school librarian and substitute, specializing in Victorian murders, particularly Madeline Smith; LeMaster Cane, African-American and interested in the racial killings of the ’60s and ’70s, especially the Zebra murders and Jones-Piagentini shootings; John Queensland, Roe’s mother’s boyfriend, an expert on Lizzie Borden; Sally Allison, newspaper reporter; Perry Allison, Sally’s son, is not quite all there and shows an unhealthy interest in the Hillside Stranglers and the Green River killer; Gifford Doakes and his friend (boyfriend?) Reynaldo, who likes massacres such as St. Valentine’s Day or the Holocaust; Detective Arthur Smith, interested in studying old crimes and seeing how police worked the case; Bankston Waites and his girlfriend Melanie; Benjamin Greer, guy who has tried everything to “belong”; Gerald Wright and his jealous wife Mamie.

batparty

Tonight is Roe’s night to share and she is covering the Wallace case from the 1930s, where William Herbert Wallace was convicted for killing his wife Julia. She is a little nervous and heads over slightly early. This month Mamie is the opener of the VFW hall they rent, followed by Sally who is in charge of refreshments. When Roe gets there she looks around for the others, but instead receives a phone call asking to speak to Julia Wallace.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

Roe cant find Mamie, but runs into Sally. As more people arrive, Roe finds it even odder they haven’t found Mamie in the building.

strange things are afoot at the circle k

Surprisingly Elizabeth Ann “Lizanne” Buckley, the  most beautiful and easily bored woman in town, comes to the meeting and brings Robin Crusoe, mystery writer.

ChristianSlaterHeatherseyebrowshmmooh

Roe can’t brush off Mamie’s disappearance and starts searching the building for her. As she looks, she comes across her dead body.

screamhouseonhauntedhill

Roe goes into shock over seeing her that way, but notices  the similarities between this and the Wallace case. So eerily similar that someone must have copied it and arranged the body.

OMG gasp

Everyone is subjected to long questioning, with Officer Arthur Smith making plans to meet with Roe the next day and get more information on the Wallace case.

The next day comes and Roe is finally able to give the talk she practiced.

Wallace Herbert Wallace was a Liverpool insurance salesman (like Gerald), and married with no children (just like the Wrights). Wallace had a regular schedule for collecting insurance payments from subscribers to his company and he bring the money home on Tuesdays. Wallace played chess and was entered in the tournament at his local club. There was a chart on the wall detailing when each person would play, one anybody could see.

Wallace didn’t have a phone at home and received a message from another member who had taken a call from a “Qualtrough” to meet him at his house the next evening.

Now the call came when Wallace wasn’t at the club so he could have left it himself at a phone booth down the way. H talks about the message with his friends at the club; is he puzzled or just trying to instill the message in other’s minds?

The next night Wallace goes out to meet Qualtrough. Qualtrough left the address Menlove Gardens East, but no such place exists. Wallace asks many people for help, even a policeman. Is he set on getting the new client or is he just trying to create an alibi?

Wallace returns home but his key won’t work. Julia has bolted the front door for some reason and won’t answer any knocks on the door. A couple who lives next door hears him as he heads in the back to get into the house; Wallace and the couple enter the house and see things out of place.

The box where the insurance money is usually held has been rifled. Wallace checks the house and finds his wife in the parlor, a room rarely used. Julia is lying in front of the gas fire with a raincoat under her, and she has been beaten to death brutally, but not raped; just like Mamie.

There was no real case against Wallace, just a lot of circumstantial evidence and pressure to arrest the killer.

Roe is absolutely disgusted with this killer. They killed Mamie not because she was Mamie or they had an issue with her; something that would be partially understood psychologically, but only because she was an insurance salesman’s wife and childless.

you're evil

And who will be next and which criminal will they be following next? Jack the Ripper? Ed Gein? The Blackburn Baby Killer?

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Later Roe heads to the store and right into Robin Crusoe. Robin is interested in the case, and wants to know more along with getting away from his disheveled house.

While he is there a package comes to Roe, but it is actually for her mother, Aida Teagarden, and sent by Roe’s father. Roe lets her know and she comes right over.  The package is Mrs. See’s chocolate, her favorite!

Chocolate makes everything better

But it is a bit odd that Roe’s father, Aida’s ex, would send her chocolate; and even stranger that it took six days to get from the city, an hour away.

weirdtwilightzone

Aida opens up the container and picks up a caramel filled one, when Roe notices that there is a puncture underneath.

OMG gasp

She stops her mom and they look at all the cream filled ones. They all have punctures.

suspicious Hmm

Arthur and his partner, Lynn Ligget, come to question the group about the event and later it is revealed that the chocolates were poisoned. This murder copies the Botkin Case, as it appears someone is trying to kill all those in the group, or their family, copying real murders.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Aurora calls a meeting of Real Murders to see if they can figure out who the killer might be, who dislikes any of them? But no one is helpful and the group disbands.

justending

Unfortunately that does not stop the killing, as Benjamin Greer’s boss, potential mayoral candidate is killed in the bathtub, the same way as Marat during the French Revolution.

ouch Hermione

Meanwhile, amidst the killings, Roe has struck the interest of Robin and Arthur. Both men she finds very attractive, and who will win out as the series progresses? (For me I like Robin. Arthur is too egotistical and just expects her to go along with him even though he doesn’t really ask her like he should.)

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

But Roe has more on her mind than love, what murder will be copied next and which of her friends will be the next victim?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

I won’t reveal any more as the ending is great. You will definitely have to check this book out for yourself. What a twist!

midsomermurdersbookweapons

The other thing I like about this is that it isn’t gruesome but very intellectual, with all the past true crime that was researched, it is just fascinating to boot.

loveitSupernatural

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Midnight in Austenland

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Charlaine Harris, go to Life’s A Journey

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

For more on serial killers, go to The Butcher of Burtonsville High: The Death of the Queen Bee, Bones (2010)

For more Alex Flinn quotes, go to I Don’t Wanna Be in Love (Dance Floor Anthem)

christmas-flowers-banner Today I thought we would go all Southern, as this this book takes place in the South. So we are going to have Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley.

ElvisPresleyDanceDancing

This song was written in 1948 by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson, but didn’t become a popular Christmas Carol until the King recorded it in 1957. What can I say? We love Elvis.

ElvisPresleypandemonium

christmas-flowers-banner

For more on Elvis, go to Fandom Love

For more Christmas Carols, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

The Butcher of Burtonsville High: The Death of the Queen Bee, Bones (2010)

bones

“They say a spirit [the Butcher of Burtonsville High] lives in these woods…He takes over a person and makes him kill.”

This episode is from the fifth season. Booth as recovered from his brain surgery and has feelings for Dr. Brennan He’s not sure if they are real, or because of the story Bones wrote and was reading to him while he was in a coma.

Booth admitted his feelings for Dr. Brennan after they recounted the story of when they first met. But Dr. Brennan didn’t reciprocate.

IDon'tevenknowhowtorespondGilmoreGirls

Angela has thrown off her vows of celibacy, dating Wendall (making Dr. Jack Hodgins jealous) and having a pregnancy scare.

Emmafakesmile

So let’s move on to the review!

halloween banner

The episode starts out with two girls going to the make out spot. They like the Katy Perry song I Kissed a Girl and decide to see if it is accurate. As they reach in for the smooch, a raccoon with a skull stmes running towards sending the skull right at them.

The-Screaming-Skull-1958

Leaving maggots all over her face!

Ew Yuck Gross

Dr. Brennan and Booth get called in to check out the body.

bones-season-5-episode-17-2-1809

Deputy Conway is in shock when she sees Booth. (I’m pretty sure I’d be the same way if I met David Boreanaz.

BonesBoothHotNiceBod

 It turns out that Dr. Brennan actually grew up in the area and went to the local high school. She recognizes Officer Conway right away.

Officer Becky Conway: Have I arrested you before, hon?

Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan: No. You were my lab partner in Chemistry at Burtonsville High.

Officer Becky Conway: Are you absolutely sure? I have an excellent memory.

Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan: Positive. Though you are thinner now, which is better for you cardiovascular system. In High School, you were quite overweight, hence the derision from the other students.

Officer Becky Conway: Yeah. I remember you now. The creepy girl.

When they find the rest of the body it brings to mind the town’s urban legend about “the Butcher.”

Officer Becky Conway: “They say a spirit lives in these woods…He takes over a person and makes him kill.”

The legend states that the butcher murders his victims and then barbecues and eats their ribs.

Ew!

Ew!

It was just a story until a girl in their grade was murdered the same way, and found missing ribs.

Dr. Lance Sweets: Now this first victim Sarah Tidwyler was a member of the class of 94?

Special Agent Seeley Booth: And the second victim was killed just before the reunion of the same class that doesn’t sound like a coincidence to me. Cops here agreed to keep everything quiet until we ID the victim and catalog the evidence.

So that’s it, Dr. Brennan and Booth are going undercover. Booth will be Dr. Brennan ‘s husband.

Alright!

Alright, undercover!

Meanwhile, back at the lab Hodgins lets slip to Wendell that Angela thought she was pregnant. It turned out that Angela never told Wendell anything.

clueless mybad oops

Back in Burtonsville, Dr. Brennan can’t wait to introduce Booth to her only friend in high school, the janitor Ray Buxley. He used to find her creatures for her to dissect, talk to her about death, etc. essentially be creepy.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

Booth meets Julie, super popular back in the day, the organizer of the whole reunion; along with Brad, the once golden boy prom king of Burtonsville and married to the former head cheerleader, Evelyn Simms.

They then go see the janitor in his creepy basement/closet

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

and he is played by Robert England.

Who?

Who?

Come on, you know. This Robert England:

Freddy Kruger

And just as creepy as him:

knifecutbonescreepyjanitor

Buxley was suspected in the earlier murder, and Booth seems him still as the number one suspect, even though Dr. Brennan doesn’t think there is anything strange about him.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Back at the lab Angela and Wendall meet up to talk about everything and break up like we all know they would. Come on, Angela and Hodgins are MEANT to be.

Twocharacterstogettogether

But enough of that, it is time to get down to forensic business. They are going to try and work on the face when Angela mentions in a video chat with Dr. Brennan that the victim once had a broken jaw. That creates a lightbulb moment for Dr. Brennan and she knows who the victim is.

Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan: 33. She was 33.

Angela Montenegro: Well, how do you know that?

Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan: Because I’m the one who broke her jaw… with a tennis racket. This is one of my classmates… Evelyn Simms.

WOW

WOW

Dr. Lance “Sweets” Sweets believes it to be someone at the reunion, after all emotions and resentments can run high at those. They try looking to see if there is anything else and discover that Brad was dating Sarah at the time she was murdered, and married to the recent victim. Very interesting…

suspicious Hmm

The lab has discovered that the weapon was a metal blade, but what is interesting was how uniform the cuts were and the pattern, not to mention the distinct size and angle of the blade. The two have their work cut out for them as it appears the reunion is just hopping with all types of weapons in every blade size.

WOW

WOW

They send pics of everything, and the only thing that comes close would be an ice pick. They ask about Carrie, but Officer Conway is sure that the two were fine. After all, Evelyn gave her the city council contract for her catering business. But then Julie interrupts and reveals that Evelyn and Carrie the caterer were arguing and Evelyn took everything away. Carrie lost her whole business and was ANGRY.

It is so stupid! It makes no sense!!!!

It is so stupid! It makes no sense!!!!

That’s a pretty powerful motive, wouldn’t you say?

They question her but it turns out to be nothing. She was in Florida with her parents, the people she is living with as she lost everything.

Not the right one.

Not the right one.

They get a call from Hodgins and al the material found on the body go with stuff you would find in shop class. There they discover Andy making a name plate out of wood for Dr. Brennan, and he also has one there for Evelyn.

Gilmore girls creep

He also was interested in Sarah and believes that all women are interested in him. I know its not him; he’s just obsessive and insane.

completelydelusional

They check around the room and discover bone dust. Evelyn was definitely dismembered in that room.

Gross

Gross

Everything seems to be pointing to Brad; mechanic who knows his way around tools, has a big insurance policy on her, and was with both victims.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

That night they are dancing away at the reunion while waiting for some confirmation on information from the lab. Dr. Brennan is excited beyond words:

Special Agent Seeley Booth: Bones, you’re tearing up.

Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan: This is the prom I never got to go to.

aw cry

Instead of balloons, stars are released from the ceiling. Everything is beautiful and magical…but then Dr. Brennan notices something…those stars are a perfect match for the angle of the murder weapon.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

They snap a pic and send it back to the lab. It is a perfect match! They have found the murder weapon, now all is left is to catch the murderer.

Hmm...

Hmm…

Is it Mr. Buxley?

knifecutbonescreepyjanitor

Dr. Brennan goes over to question Buxley about who made the stars. He has figured out that Dr. Brennan isn’t there for the reunion, but is investigating. He tells her that Julie was the one who did it, after all she made every decoration in there.

Ray Buxley: Don’t surprise me, though. One look at her and you can tell she’s off. Them smiley ones, they always give me the willies.

They arrest her and it turns out she is a regular psycho. She and Evelyn made a pact in high school to kill Sarah and share Brad. When Evelyn wouldn’t give him up, she killed her.

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don't let her get away, Mommy! Don't let her live! [normal voice] Pamela Voorhees: I won't, Jason. I won't!

A great thriller episode with some fun parodies. You should definitely check it out.

halloween banner

To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to Those Aren’t Men They Are the Living Dead: White Zombie (1932)

halloween banner

For more on Bones, go to You’re Sad So I’m Making This Day Extra Special: The Bikini in the Soup, Bones (2011)

For more creepy janitors, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more female serial killers, go to A Matter of Loaf and Death: Wallace and Gromit (2008)

For more David Boreanaz, go to She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

For more Robert England, go to Whatever You Do Don’t Fall Asleep: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)